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Draft bill moves BDP’s £4bn Parliament refurb a step closer

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BDP’s £4 billion refurbishment of London’s Palace of Westminster has moved a step closer with the publication of a draft bill to kickstart the redevelopment process

Ministers brought forward a preliminary version of the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill, which would establish Olympic-style bodies to oversee the huge scheme.

MPs earlier this year voted narrowly in favour of leaving the Palace of Westminster while the huge programme of works is carried out.

They also agreed to use legislation to establish both a sponsor board and a delivery authority to develop a business case and programme for the work.

Now the process of setting up these bodies – which echoes the way the 2012 London Games was run – has begun.

As well as a Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body with overall responsibility for the programme, and a Delivery Authority charged with making it happen, the draft bill proposes a Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission to review annual budgets for the project in consultation with the Treasury.

A shadow sponsor board was set up over the summer to oversee the budget, business case and scope of the restoration programme until a formal board is set up via legislation. The shadow board’s chair, Liz Peace, said: ‘The publication of this draft bill allows the restoration of the Palace of Westminster, one of the most iconic buildings in the world, to proceed to the next important stage.

‘The bodies set up by this legislation will have the powers to make strategic decisions on the programme, as well as deliver the restoration works themselves, but at the same time they will remain accountable to Parliament, and this will ensure we can continue to put value-for-money for the taxpayer at the heart of the restoration.

‘We are pleased that the government recognises the need to make this progress so that the building can be secured as the home of the UK Parliament for future generations.’

Last year BDP beat Foster + Partners, Allies and Morrison and HOK to win the design contract for the restoration. The practice will work with Donald Insall Associates, which has a long history of conservation work at the Palace of Westminster.

CH2M was chosen to deliver programme, project and cost management services on the scheme.

Meanwhile, proposals being drawn up by AHMM to build a temporary House of Commons chamber in a nearby listed government building during the refurb this month sparked a backlash from conservationists. 

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